Procedure Matters

One piece of advice we often give our community association boards is that the procedure used by an association to take any given action is often more susceptible to challenge than the action itself. In other words, how you do things is often easier to attack – successfully – than the actual action taken by an association.

A recent case out of the Colorado Court of Appeals supports this viewpoint. In Tyra Summit Condominiums II Association, Inc. v. Clancy, No. 16CA1381 (Colo. Ct. App. May 18, 2017), the Court of Appeals of Colorado held that the Association’s failure to give proper notice of a proposed declaration amendment invalidated the amendment.

Colorado law requires that, before an association may amend its declaration, the association must have discussed it during at least one association meeting. At least 10 days before, but not more than 50 days before such a meeting, the association must deliver written notice to every owner. The notice must include the following: the meeting date, time, location, and agenda items; and it must specify at least the general nature of proposed amendments to the declaration.

In the Tyra case, the Association notified owners in June of their August 1 meeting, but only stated that the board had been working with counsel to rewrite the declaration. The first notice did not specify, even generally, the nature of the proposed amendments. The draft of the amendment wasn’t mailed to the owners until July 28 – 3 days before the meeting. Because the notices that were sent to owners did not meet the statutory requirements discussed above, the court found that the amendment was invalid.

The lesson we can all take away is that how you do things matters at least as much as what action you are seeking to take. Whether it is adopting an amendment or something as “simple” as sending a fine notice, it’s important to ensure your association is following proper procedure to avoid a future (successful) challenge of the action taken.

Invalid Board Does Not Have Authority to Bring Lawsuit on Association’s Behalf

The Appeals Court of Illinois recently held that an association’s board of directors does not have authority to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the association if it is not formed properly according to the condominium’s governing documents and the law. While this case is not binding in Washington, it may indicate how Washington courts…

Court Defers to Association’s Interpretation of its Bylaws

The Washington Court of Appeals recently held that an association’s board of directors was validly constituted and properly passed bylaw amendments, so the board (and the management company as the board’s agent) had the authority to charge and collect fines and fees. Parker Estates Homeowners Ass’n v. Pattison, No. 47402-6-II, 2016 WL 7468226, at *1…

“Rent-Free” Living During Redemption Period

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently held that the owner of a condominium unit could not be forced to move out or pay rent during the redemption period after a judicial foreclosure by the Association. Viewcrest Condo. Ass’n v. Robertson, No. 74115-2-I, 2016 WL 7470025 (Wash. Ct. App. Dec. 27, 2016) In the case,…

Associations Not Required to Disclose Privileged Information

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that the Maryland Condominium Act did not require disclosure of information related to legal advice or attorney work product (privileged information) to owners. Although this case was decided in Maryland, and it is not binding in Washington, it could indicate how Washington courts would decide a similar issue…

Easement Holder’s Consent Required to End Easement

In Majestic Oaks Home Owners Association, Inc. v. Majestic Oaks Farms, Inc., the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that an amendment to a subdivision declaration could not cancel an easement without the easement holder’s consent. Although this case was decided in Kentucky, and it is not binding in Washington, it could be an indication of…

Is Short-Term Leasing a “Commercial Use”?

In Houston v. Wilson Mesa Ranch Homeowners Association, Inc., the Colorado Court of Appeals held that short-term rentals did not violate a covenant prohibiting commercial use of a unit. However, this ruling did not indicate that all restrictions on short-term rentals are unenforceable. Although this case was decided in Colorado, and it is not binding…

Business Judgment Rules does not Apply to Unauthorized Acts

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that association board decisions must be evaluated individually to see if the business judgment rule applied, and the business judgment rule did not apply when the board acted beyond its authority. Although this case was decided in South Carolina, it could be an indication of how a Washington court…

Update on Annual Seafair Party!

Our annual SEAFAIR & Blue Angel LUNCHEON is upon us!  Please join us at our annual Seafair & Blue Angel luncheon for Community Association Managers taking place on Friday, August 5, 2016 from noon – 4pm at Gil Price’s Leschi home located at 3513 S. Leschi Place, Seattle, WA 98144.  Mark your calendars as we…

Condo Law Annual Seafair Luncheon is August 5

SEAFAIR and our annual SEAFAIR LUNCHEON are upon us! Please join us at our annual Seafair Blue Angel luncheon for Community Association Managers taking place on Friday, August 5, 2016 from noon – 4pm at Gil Price’s Leschi home located at 3513 S. Leschi Place, Seattle, WA 98144.  Mark your calendars as we look forward…

Procedure Matters

One piece of advice we often give our community association boards is that the procedure used by an association to take any given action is often more susceptible to challenge than the action itself. In other words, how you do things is often easier to attack – successfully – than the actual action taken by an association.

A recent case out of the Colorado Court of Appeals supports this viewpoint. In Tyra Summit Condominiums II Association, Inc. v. Clancy, No. 16CA1381 (Colo. Ct. App. May 18, 2017), the Court of Appeals of Colorado held that the Association’s failure to give proper notice of a proposed declaration amendment invalidated the amendment.

Colorado law requires that, before an association may amend its declaration, the association must have discussed it during at least one association meeting. At least 10 days before, but not more than 50 days before such a meeting, the association must deliver written notice to every owner. The notice must include the following: the meeting date, time, location, and agenda items; and it must specify at least the general nature of proposed amendments to the declaration.

In the Tyra case, the Association notified owners in June of their August 1 meeting, but only stated that the board had been working with counsel to rewrite the declaration. The first notice did not specify, even generally, the nature of the proposed amendments. The draft of the amendment wasn’t mailed to the owners until July 28 – 3 days before the meeting. Because the notices that were sent to owners did not meet the statutory requirements discussed above, the court found that the amendment was invalid.

The lesson we can all take away is that how you do things matters at least as much as what action you are seeking to take. Whether it is adopting an amendment or something as “simple” as sending a fine notice, it’s important to ensure your association is following proper procedure to avoid a future (successful) challenge of the action taken.

Invalid Board Does Not Have Authority to Bring Lawsuit on Association’s Behalf

The Appeals Court of Illinois recently held that an association’s board of directors does not have authority to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the association if it is not formed properly according to the condominium’s governing documents and the law. While this case is not binding in Washington, it may indicate how Washington courts…

Court Defers to Association’s Interpretation of its Bylaws

The Washington Court of Appeals recently held that an association’s board of directors was validly constituted and properly passed bylaw amendments, so the board (and the management company as the board’s agent) had the authority to charge and collect fines and fees. Parker Estates Homeowners Ass’n v. Pattison, No. 47402-6-II, 2016 WL 7468226, at *1…

“Rent-Free” Living During Redemption Period

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently held that the owner of a condominium unit could not be forced to move out or pay rent during the redemption period after a judicial foreclosure by the Association. Viewcrest Condo. Ass’n v. Robertson, No. 74115-2-I, 2016 WL 7470025 (Wash. Ct. App. Dec. 27, 2016) In the case,…

Associations Not Required to Disclose Privileged Information

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that the Maryland Condominium Act did not require disclosure of information related to legal advice or attorney work product (privileged information) to owners. Although this case was decided in Maryland, and it is not binding in Washington, it could indicate how Washington courts would decide a similar issue…

Easement Holder’s Consent Required to End Easement

In Majestic Oaks Home Owners Association, Inc. v. Majestic Oaks Farms, Inc., the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that an amendment to a subdivision declaration could not cancel an easement without the easement holder’s consent. Although this case was decided in Kentucky, and it is not binding in Washington, it could be an indication of…

Is Short-Term Leasing a “Commercial Use”?

In Houston v. Wilson Mesa Ranch Homeowners Association, Inc., the Colorado Court of Appeals held that short-term rentals did not violate a covenant prohibiting commercial use of a unit. However, this ruling did not indicate that all restrictions on short-term rentals are unenforceable. Although this case was decided in Colorado, and it is not binding…

Business Judgment Rules does not Apply to Unauthorized Acts

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that association board decisions must be evaluated individually to see if the business judgment rule applied, and the business judgment rule did not apply when the board acted beyond its authority. Although this case was decided in South Carolina, it could be an indication of how a Washington court…

Update on Annual Seafair Party!

Our annual SEAFAIR & Blue Angel LUNCHEON is upon us!  Please join us at our annual Seafair & Blue Angel luncheon for Community Association Managers taking place on Friday, August 5, 2016 from noon – 4pm at Gil Price’s Leschi home located at 3513 S. Leschi Place, Seattle, WA 98144.  Mark your calendars as we…

Condo Law Annual Seafair Luncheon is August 5

SEAFAIR and our annual SEAFAIR LUNCHEON are upon us! Please join us at our annual Seafair Blue Angel luncheon for Community Association Managers taking place on Friday, August 5, 2016 from noon – 4pm at Gil Price’s Leschi home located at 3513 S. Leschi Place, Seattle, WA 98144.  Mark your calendars as we look forward…